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Myriads of Blazing Suns

The Southern Cross

How to Tell the Time

An Infallible Direction Indicator

Outstanding Stars

Stars of the Centaur

Strange Aboriginal Folklore

A Glowing Mass of Stars

Super Suns of the Heavens

The False Cross

The Southern Triangle

Ara and The Scorpion

Other Stars



ara and the scorpion

Following the line along the southern or lower edge of the Milky Way from the Southern Cross past the Pointers and the Triangle, leads through Ara, the Altar, to Scorpio, the Scorpion. A graceful curve of five bright stars, two being close together, surmounted by three, almost in line, constitute the Altar; while a little farther on, three in line with a close fourth, a small, but very bright, pin-point at a sharp angle, marks the tail of the Scorpion. This close pair gives the unmistakable impression of a sting or barb, for, not only has it been known for thousands of years in the Northern Hemisphere as the sting of the scorpion, but the. Australian natives called it the barb of the stingray.

A sweeping curve containing two tiny doubles—very close pairs to the naked eye—leads over the "tail" to the "body" of the Scorpion, in the centre of which is a conspicuous star with a ruddy tint. This is Alpha of the Scorpion—proper name Antares—which is a good example of that class of star known as Red Giants. Its red color is due to its being red-hot rather than white-hot. It is truly a giant, being hundreds of times larger than the Sun: it could encompass the whole of the orbits of the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, with the Sun at the centre.

The Scorpion's head and claws "tee" across a little farther on. This constellation is one of the few which really looks like its name and, once marked, can be recognised easily again.



Wonder Book of Knowledge